Dallas brides love Lauren Kitchens of Fancy Cakes by Lauren for her jaw-dropping cake creations—mostly contemporary-style confections ranging from towering, fondant-wrapped wedding cakes to realistically sculpted, three-dimensional groom’s cakes. But it was one recent project with a much more throwback feel that thrust Lauren into the national spotlight: the wedding cake of Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, who married at Shelton’s Oklahoma ranch on July 3.
Lauren was tapped by the couple’s wedding planner, Dallas’ own Todd Fiscus of Todd Events, about a month before the big day and worked with the planning team and Gwen’s personal assistant to get the look just right. And though Lauren admits that the cake’s Lambeth look (the term for the classic style of intricate and layered piped icing) was polarizing, it was fun to dust the rust off of her piping bag and get back to a lost art form. “Most modern-day cake decorators aren’t asked to do this style, so the majority of them can’t do it,” says Lauren, who predicts that the celebrity couple’s cake will push the vintage look back into the mainstream. “I’m so excited, because it’s the whole reason I got into cakes in the first place—I love the piping bag.”
Lauren shares the backstory of how the legendary confection came to be, what Gwen and Blake had to say after the big day, and what trends she’s seeing in wedding cake design.
D Weddings: Start by telling us how Blake and Gwen’s cake came to life.
Lauren Kitchens: The first picture I got was a picture of Gwen’s parents with their wedding cake from, I think, the early ’60s. Then Gwen and her assistant collected a lot of different cakes from the ’50s and ’60s—one was Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s wedding cake—all in the same Lambeth style of cake decorating, which is really a lost art. So I created and submitted a sketch. And then I got on YouTube and studied Lambeth decorating; I was just kind of rusty. I started making cakes in the ’90s, when piping on cakes was starting to just leave completely and everything turned into really modern cakes and sculpted groom’s cakes. But I’m a fast learner. So I went off of my sketch and went tier by tier. It’s layer upon layer upon layer of piping, and you have to let the layers dry before you can add more layers on top. There was definitely a learning curve for me, which is unusual because I’ve been doing this for 20-something years.
D Weddings: It’s really the quintessential “wedding cake” look.
LK: You can show a Lambeth wedding cake design to someone in any culture, any country, and they’re like: “Wedding cake.” A lot of the good reaction that I was getting was, “This reminds me of my parents’ wedding cake from the ’60s.” Or, “This reminds me of my wedding cake from the ’80s.” It just pulls the heartstrings.
D Weddings: When you submitted your sketch, did Gwen have any edits?
LK: Not a one. I heard back from Todd’s team, and they were like, “It’s perfect, she loves it, do it.” Easiest bride ever!
D Weddings: What flavor did they go with?
LK: She chose vanilla cake. Simple, easy. Just vanilla cake with salted-caramel filling. She didn’t want anything crazy. It’s interesting that somebody as eclectic as Gwen Stefani wanted something so traditional and storybook.
D Weddings: How long did it take to make?
LK: The actual execution of the piping alone took two days—that’s not including icing the tiers or baking or anything like that. It took me just as long to put the design on this cake as it does for me to make a 3D golf bag groom’s cake. It was incredibly time-consuming. It’s the wait time: You put on a ruffle garland and you have to let it dry. And then you pipe over it.
D Weddings: Did you get any feedback from them after the wedding?
LK: Todd texted me the next day and said, “She loved it. She said it was perfect and exactly what she wanted.” It was one of the first pictures she posted on Instagram, and she tagged every single vendor in her post. And then hours later, Blake did the same thing. That is incredible generosity. It just shows their character.
D Weddings: Do you get a lot of requests to do tribute-style cakes like theirs?
LK: A couple of years ago, we did a wedding at Arlington Hall, and the couple told me, “All of our grandparents are alive, all of our parents are alive, and everybody had an ornate cake, and we want to do the same thing.” So we did a modern version of a vintage cake for them. And they took photos with their parents and grandparents around the cake.
D Weddings: What about recreating brides’ and grooms’ favorite family cake recipes? Is that something you can do?
LK: You know, taste is so powerful, and it triggers memories, so I can never make a cake that’s better than Grandma’s cake. Whenever somebody comes in for the tasting, and they’re like, “My grandma made the best red velvet cake.” I’m like, “You’re gonna hate my red velvet!” [laughs] Not because it’s not good, but because Grandma didn’t make it. Wedding cakes have to hold so much weight and so much icing and still be soft and moist, so I can’t really be vetting other people’s recipes.
D Weddings: What other what other trends are you seeing right now?
LK: With weddings being outside as much as they were last year, we saw a lot of freeze-pressed flowers pressed up against the sides of a buttercream cake. Edible gold leaf is still a really powerful trend. And color—it’s rare that we have an all-white cake.
The post The Local Pro Behind Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton’s Wedding Cake Shares How It Came to Life appeared first on D Weddings.